Are teflon residues implicated in allergy

Perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA), used in the manufacture of stain-
resistant fabrics, carpets, all-weather clothing and non-stick surfaces, has already been identified as a ‘likely’ human carcinogen by an advisory panel to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Now Jean Meade and colleagues at the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, West Virginia, have shown that in mice at least, it may prime the immune system to overreact to allergens.

Animals given PFOA before being exposed to an egg allergen produced more allergen-specific antibodies and experienced more constriction of their airways than those exposed to the allergen alone. (Toxicological Sciences, DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfm053)

Robert Rickard, a science director at DuPont, which makes Teflon coatings, says PFOA is unlikely to cause allergy-related problems in humans, though no studies have looked at this question. PFOA is found in the blood of nearly everyone, yet how it gets there is a mystery. It should not turn up in final manufactured products,
although DuPont has measured very small amounts in treated
carpets and upholstery.

Courtesy of New Scientist, 23 June 2007, page 14

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First Published in Febuary Febuary 2008

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